What was the 1936 Winter Olympics?


The 1936 Winter Olympics, officially known as the IV Olympic Winter Games (French: Les IVes Jeux olympiques d’hiver) (German: Olympische Winterspiele 1936), were a winter multi-sport event held from 06 to 16 February 1936 in the market town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria, Germany. The country also hosted the 1936 Summer Olympics, which were held in Berlin.

It was the last year in which the Summer and Winter Games both took place in the same country (the cancelled 1940 Olympics would have been held in Japan, with Tokyo hosting the Summer Games and Sapporo hosting the Winter Games).

The 1936 Winter Games were organised on behalf of the German League of the Reich for Physical Exercise (DRL) by Karl Ritter von Halt, who had been named president of the committee for the organisation of the Fourth Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen by Reichssportführer Hans von Tschammer und Osten.

Refer to the 1952 Inter-Camp POW Olympics, The Olympics Games and World War, and 1936 Summer Olympics.


  • German skier Willy Bogner took the Olympic oath during the opening ceremonies.
  • Alpine skiing made its first appearance in the winter Olympics as the combined, which added a skier’s results in both the downhill and slalom.
    • German athletes Franz Pfnür won men’s alpine and Christl Cranz won women’s alpine events.
  • Ivar Ballangrud won three out of the four speed skating races.
  • Sonja Henie won her third consecutive gold medal in woman’s figure skating.
  • Switzerland won the 4 man bobsled in a time of 5:19.85.
  • Great Britain upset 1932 gold medalists Canada in ice hockey when Edgar Brenchley scored the winning goal within the last ninety seconds.
  • The country who won the overall games was Norway with a total of 7 gold medals, 5 silver medals and 3 bronze medals.
  • These games had the largest and heaviest medals ever awarded to athletes: 100 mm (3.9 in) diameter, 4 mm (0.16 in) thick, weighing 324 g (11.4 oz).


Medals were awarded in 17 events contested in 4 sports (8 disciplines).

  •  Bobsleigh (2).
  •  Ice hockey (1).
  • Skating
    •  Figure skating (3).
    •  Speed skating (4).
  • Skiing
    •  Alpine skiing (2).
    •  Nordic skiing.
      •  Cross-country skiing (3).
      •  Nordic combined (1).
      •  Ski jumping (1).

Demonstration Sports

  • Military patrol (see below).
  • Ice stock sport.

Military Patrol at the 1936 Winter Olympics

At the 1936 Winter Olympics, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, in 1936, a military patrol competition was held. The International Olympic Committee refused admission of this sport into the Olympic Programme, but the expressed desires of Adolf Hitler forced the IOC to make this programme a demonstration sport. Military patrol is considered the precursor to biathlon.

The success of the Italian team was honoured by Benito Mussolini with 30,000 lira per participant, because it was the first time that the Italians placed first in Nordic skiing at the Olympics.

Event held on 14 February 1936


  • Große Olympiaschanze: Cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and Ski Jumping.
  • Gudiberg: Alpine skiing (combined – slalom).
  • Kreuzjoch: Alpine skiing (combined – downhill).
  • Kreuzeck: Alpine skiing (downhill finish line).
  • Olympia-Kunsteisstadion: Figure skating and Ice hockey.
  • Riessersee and surrounding areas: Bobsleigh, Ice hockey, and Speed skating.

Participating Nations

28 nations sent athletes to compete in Germany. Australia, Bulgaria, Greece, Liechtenstein, Spain, and Turkey all made their Winter Olympic debut in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Yugoslavia all returned to the Games after having missed the 1932 Winter Olympics.

Medal Count

7Great Britain1113

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